Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

Advent 2023 Devotional: Conclusion

Concluding Devotion:

St. Matthew’s Gospel begins and ends with the same book end.  At the beginning in 1:22-23, St. Matthew tells us that the birth of Jesus Christ fulfilled what Isaiah said in 7:14 that they shall call his name, “Immanuel” which means God with us.
At the end of the Gospel, as Jesus is assembled before his disciples on the hill of Galilee after he has risen from the dead, He tells them that “I shall be with you always, until the end of the age.”  Catch it?  Jesus himself says “I will be with you” Jesus, God, is with us.

With this understanding, we can see all our lives bookended with that same promise.  The promise as we begin our life with Christ is the water poured on our head in the name of the Triune God that washes away all our sin because God is now with us.   And at the end of our life, at the end of our age, as we lay dying, we have the same promise from Christ that he is with us always.  He will raise us on the last day.
Jesus is our Immanuel.  He promises.  As we have looked into the Old Testament throughout the Advent Season, we have come to know this more personally and with confidence.  As we see the lives of his people shaped by his cross in the Old Testament, we know that we too will follow this Lord of life as well.  The past faithfulness of Jesus determines the future certainty.

May you go now in the peace and the joy that is yours in Jesus Christ our Lord!  Merry Christmas! Amen.